How to Record Hip-Hop Vocals with UAD Plug-Ins
In this video, watch Universal Audio's Ben Lindell and Seattle rapper, Grieves, show you how to quickly record professional hip‑hop vocals, in real time using UAD plug‑ins and Auto‑Tune.
3 UAD Plug-In Chains for Hip-Hop Vocals
Classic Warmth: Neve Preamp | Teletronix LA‑2A
To inject instant analog character to your vocal track, start with the Neve® Preamp on the Unison insert, with a touch of gain (40‑50dB) for warmth and saturation. Add the Teletronix LA‑2A Compressor on the next insert to bring your vocal to the front of the mix with added color and presence.
Tip: Don’t overdo it with your first stage of compression. During mixing and mastering, your tracks will pass through multiple compressors — each reducing the dynamic range of your signal. If you are committing to compression during tracking, - 2‑3dB gain reduction is plenty.
Added Control: Manley VOXBOX | Pure Plate Reverb
The Manley® VOXBOX Channel Strip plug‑in is a ”do‑it‑all” tube processor that can quickly transform vocals with its Pultec‑style EQ. It's an excellent choice for extra tone shaping, or to tame “S” sounds and hard transient spikes with its built‑in de‑esser/limiter.
Next, add the Pure Plate Reverb plug‑in on an auxiliary track, and route your vocal to the reverb via a bus to make the headphone mix more inspiring, and give the vocalist extra confidence while they are recording takes.
Modern & Tuned: Avalon VT-737 | Antares Auto-Tune
The Avalon® VT‑737 Tube Channel Strip is famous for its clean, transparent character. Start by adding it to the Unison slot, dialing in the gain, and adjusting EQ to taste.
Pitch correction is an important tool for all modern music producers, but for hip‑hop producers in particular, learning to use Auto-Tune will bring your tracks to the next level. Add Auto‑Tune on the next insert and dial it in for everything from modern, perfectly‑tuned vocals to all‑out robot speak.
Tip: Always place time‑based effects, such as reverb and delay, after Auto‑Tune in your plug‑in chain. This will ensure that the pitch correction is reacting to just the notes being sung, and not any ambient delay or reverb trails.
Tour Butch Walker's Hit-Making Studio
Learn how producer, engineer, songwriter, and solo artist Butch Walker (Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer) creates Grammy-winning tracks using Apollo interfaces, OX Amp Top Box, LUNA, and UAD plug-ins.
Helping Billie Eilish Craft Hits
Learn how mix engineer Rob Kinelski used UAD plug-ins to help craft a multi Grammy-winning record, Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Essential Techniques to Record Better Vocals
In this article, learn essential techniques for capturing professional vocals and how Apollo interfaces and UAD plug-ins can lift your vocal recordings to new heights.